ISLAMABAD: After failing to get permission for its public meeting scheduled for the eve of Independence Day despite proposing three venues in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has decided to shift the event to Lahore.

“We have been told that the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has already applied for its public meeting at Parade Ground on Aug 13. However, we have reached the conclusion that the permission was conditional to the nod of the 111 Brigade that is not willing to allow us. Otherwise, we would have been allowed one of our proposed venues,” PTI Islamabad president Ali Awan said while talking to Dawn.

On Aug 6, the PTI’s political committee had announced plans to hold a power show in the federal capital on Aug 13, the eve of Independence Day. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by PTI chairman Imran Khan and attended by its senior leadership, including Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Shireen Mazari, Omar Ayub, Saifullah Niazi and others. Mr Khan had also stated that he would announce his party’s future strategy during the event, and that is why directions were issued to party leaders to ensure an “impressive” show of power.

Mr Awan said the PTI had sought permission from the district administration to hold its public meeting at the Parade Ground, but it was informed that the TLP had already applied for the venue.

Aug 13 power show moved to Lahore

“Then we requested [the administration] to shift the public meeting to Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) objected to it and we were told that their curators were working there as a security team is expected to visit before the English team’s visit to the country,” he maintained.

“Then we started considering holding the public meeting at Liaquat Bagh, but were told that recently, plantation has been undertaken at the park and there will be very little space for the public meeting,” he added.

The PTI leader further said he reached the conclusion that it was not possible to get permission in the twin cities, as the nod of the army’s 111 Brigade was also required.

“Although we have been told that confirmation has not been given to the TLP yet, it is strange that the TLP can hold a public meeting at the Parade Ground, but not the PTI. So now we have decided to hold the public meeting at Hockey Ground, Lahore,” he announced.

He further said that former premier Imran Khan will address the Lahore gathering, which will be telecast across the country.

“The party chairman will announce a future strategy and we will hold a fireworks display and a flag-hoisting ceremony at midnight,” Mr Awan said.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2022

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